Disaster risk assessment is a spatial study or analysis.
The statement is logical and true because hazards occur at a specific location and its impact on people and environment is also based on the question – where. This makes GIS an ideal tool to do Disaster Risk Assessment.
A successful disaster risk assessment using GIS starts with a proper project plan. This project plan begins with the theoretical framework of what disaster risk is, which determine the formula or classification to use when calculating disaster risk for an area.
A simple classification of disaster risk, that is normally used, is that disaster risk is the function of characteristics of a hazard, vulnerability of communities and the capacity to mitigate the impact of the hazard.
The trick is to convert the identified theoretical framework into a GIS model and/or methodology. GIS/spatial data that represent the characteristics/indicators of the hazard, vulnerability and capacity to cope needs to be found or created.
A scientifically based disaster risk assessment is not possible without the correct theoretical framework and associated GIS methodology and data. All this is also true when conducting a spatial analysis to investigate a spatial problem and to develop a solution. We as GIS practitioners know it as GeoDesign.